BEIRUT: An Israeli drone fired two missiles at an aluminum plant outside the southern Lebanese market town of Nabatieh on Saturday, causing a fire and widespread damage.
The Israeli strike near the village of Toul is the first to hit the area since the 34-day war in 2006 between Israel and the Hezbollah.
The drone targeted the factory on the Toul-Kfour road at 4 a.m. It was the first time an industrial facility had been targeted during the recent violence, a resident told Arab News.
They added: “We woke up at night to the sound of a big explosion, which turned out to be the result of the interception of a missile in the southern skies.
“Then the factory was targeted, and the sounds of explosions continued in the border region, causing fear among people.”
Samer, from Nabatieh, said: “People have not yet decided to move from the area, but those well off have reserved places in areas far from the south in case they are forced to leave.”
The UN Interim Force in Lebanon sounded warning sirens from its centers close to the shelling sites, in the vicinity of the towns of Tayr Harfa, Chamaa, and Naqoura.
Several mayors of villages subjected to daily shelling told of the “need to support the steadfastness of the remaining residents in the towns.”
Meanwhile, Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri on Saturday mourned the death of Ahmad Bahar, the first deputy speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council.
Bahar was killed in an Israeli strike in Gaza, and Berri said: “(He was) martyred as a result of the ongoing Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip.”
He added: “We place this crime with other massacres committed by Israel in the Gaza Strip before all the free people of the world and their representatives.
“Is there anyone who will deter Israel and put an end to its machine of bloodshed and killings?”
His comments came as the southern region appeared to have entered a new phase of military escalation amid the Gaza crisis.
The southern skies have seen flights by Israeli reconnaissance aircraft.
Hezbollah carried out a series of operations on Saturday against Israeli positions, announcing its support “of our steadfast Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip and support of their resistance.”
It said that it had targeted Israeli soldiers in the Shtula Forest and troops in Khallet Warde with “appropriate weapons, causing direct hits.”
Hezbollah also announced that it had targeted the Israeli Ramim Barracks “with missiles and artillery shells.”
It also said that it had hit the Al-Raheb post “with appropriate weapons, causing direct hits, as well as targeting the new Israeli military command headquarters in Wadi Sasaa with missile fire, causing confirmed hits.”
Hezbollah also reported that an Israeli Hermes 450 drone had been shot down by a surface-to-air missile, adding that “its debris was seen falling over the Galilee Panhandle area.”